By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics signed Dennis Schroder on Monday night, adding some much needed scoring and point guard depth to the roster. But the signing also comes with some serious risk.READ MORE: Celtics Blown Out By Raptors In Boston's Home Opener, 115-83
Schroder is joining the Celtics on a one-year deal worth just $5.9 million, so there is little risk financially. It’s actually an incredible bargain for a player of Schroder’s caliber. The move also doesn’t muck up Brad Stevens’ plans for next summer, when he hopes to have as much financial flexibility as possible to make a big splash in free agency or on the trade market. In that sense, adding Schroder seemed liked a no-brainer.
And really, it can’t be much worse than Danny Ainge’s signing of Jeff Teague last offseason. If the bar is that low for Schroder in Boston, then there is a strong likelihood that it works out.
The 29-year-old also gives the Celtics another option to start at point guard in place of Kemba Walker, which would take ball-handling duties away from Marcus Smart and allow the longest-tenured Celtic to shift back to shooting guard. Or if Smart doesn’t want to relinquish the role that was just given to him, Schroder could come off the bench for the C’s, bringing scoring and some pesky defense to the second unit. Schroder had loads of success off the bench for the Oklahoma City Thunder two years ago, though he reportedly soured on that role late in the season.
So there is no guarantee that the somewhat moody Schroder will want to do that in Boston, especially now that he is once again playing for a big-money contract. And therein lies the risk with signing Schroder, who likely won’t be part of the Celtics’ plans after this season. He is a bridge guy, brought in to make the 2021-22 Celtics a tad bit better while not messing up next summer’s plans.READ MORE: Celtics Games No Longer Streaming In China After Enes Kanter Calls Out 'Brutal Dictator' Xi Jinping
He reportedly turned down a four-year, $84 million extension offer from the Lakers last season, and was then pretty miffed at the lack of interest in his services on the free agent market this summer. He’ll likely be looking for a new agent sometime in the near future.
Trying to get another big payday next summer should be a pretty big carrot dangling in front of Schroder throughout the 2021-22 season, and maybe that will work in Boston’s favor. But if he’s too worried about his own personal stats, it could also work against the Celtics.
Adding Schroder does give the Celtics a legit No. 3 scoring option behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. But is Schroder going to do all he can as a facilitator when it’s his point total that will earn him the most cheddar next summer? There’s a good chance that he’ll be hunting for buckets instead of looking to put his teammates in the best spot to score.
It will create a delicate balancing act for Ime Udoka in his first season as a head coach, adding to an already delicate balancing act that is coaching Dennis Schroder in general. Playing an entire season at such a bargain price should motivate Schroder to be on his best behavior and put his best foot forward every night, but it could also blow up in Boston’s faces. And if Marcus Smart is indeed the team’s starting point guard and is still in charge of the ball on offense, as Udoka has hinted at numerous times this summer, things could go sour with Schroder pretty quickly.
But these are the risks that bargain shoppers need to take. Brad Stevens was wise to play a game of chicken with Schroder and not give into his request for a second year or more money, so if things really go south, Boston could easily move on from the player without it hindering their future plans.MORE NEWS: Jaylen Brown Casually Had A Career Night In Celtics' Season Opening Loss To Knicks
Now Stevens needs to hope that Schroder gives it all for the team every night, instead of focusing on himself and his future earnings.